New starters pose challenge for Royals catchers

New starters pose challenge for Royals catchers

New starters pose challenge for Royals catchers
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' recent wave of new starting pitchers has presented a challenge to the team's catchers.

A game's success can be based on the rapport between a pitcher and catcher, and experience with one another strengthens that bond. But the Royals have had to learn on the fly lately, with a couple starters coming up from the Minor Leagues to fill gaps in the rotation.

Things didn't go well for Ryan Verdugo and Salvador Perez on Tuesday, when Verdugo gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings. He was sent back to Triple-A Omaha the next day.

Perez had the task of handling another rookie, Will Smith, for the first time on Wednesday. The two were going over their game plan in the clubhouse in the hours before the game.

The Royals' other backstop, Brayan Pena, said that it is tough for catchers to work with so many different pitchers on short notice.

"It is [challenging]," Pena said. "It's something that we can't control. It's something that we've got to go out there and try to do our best for those pitchers to feel comfortable out there. But it's a good sign for our ballclub that we've got good depth, especially in the Minors. We've got a lot of good arms and good talent.

"You just try to come here and prepare yourself and do your best. That's the only thing that you can control. Other than that, the game dictates itself, but if you come early, if you work and you do your preparation pregame -- stats and other things that you need to do -- if things do not go your way, at least you know that you prepared yourself. You're not being lazy and you've been working to try to get better and to help your team."